Edward C. Ahern Jr., 64, Anne Arundel councilman

October 01, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Edward Charles "Buddy" Ahern Jr., who helped to get ball fields, fire stations and storm drains for his Pasadena-area constituents during his 16 years on the Anne Arundel County Council, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure Saturday at his home in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 64.

Mr. Ahern served four terms on the council, from 1974 to 1990, representing District 3 -- which included Pasadena, Green Haven, Bayside Beach and Riviera Beach. Political colleagues credited him with securing early funding for Downs Park, the Lake Shore Sports Complex and the Compass Pointe Golf Course on Fort Smallwood Road.

Born in a rowhouse on Baltimore's South Carey Street, Mr. Ahern was a 1957 graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School. He worked as a route salesman for Union Vending Machine Co. in Glen Burnie until 1976, leaving to start a business based in Pasadena, Council Automatic Vending Co. He sold the candy, snack and cigarette vending business about 10 years ago.

Soon after his first election to the council, Mr. Ahern began fighting for capital improvements for his district, county politicians recalled yesterday.

"Hundreds of children today benefit from his vision," said state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, a friend and fellow Democrat. "He was an old-line politician. He took care of constituent service. He could work with Democrat or Republican county executives. He left a significant and long-lasting impact on the people of his district. We are still seeing the results."

Friends said Mr. Ahern was a vigorous proponent of finding sources of public funding for projects he liked or believed would help constituents.

He sought state funds for the county to acquire a 123-acre horse farm on Fort Smallwood Road -- which became the site for Compass Pointe, a pair of 18-hole courses scheduled to open next week.

"He was a great guy for his district. We always used to kid Buddy that if he got funding for any more projects, his part of the county would fall in the water," said Del. Mary Ann Love, a Democrat who is chairwoman of Anne Arundel's legislative delegation. "He got most everything he wanted. It was a little bit of Irish charm mixed with politics. He could start with a $100,000 project and wind up with $500,000."

Friends also recalled his personality.

"You could have an argument with Buddy, walk away, and the next day he'd be your friend," Ms. Love said.

He was defeated in his quest for a fifth term in 1990 and moved to Fort Myers two years ago.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home, 3204 Mountain Road, Pasadena.

Mr. Ahern is survived by two daughters, Brenda Lee Breitenbach of Severna Park and Tammy Lynn Jurist of Berlin, and six grandchildren. His marriage ended in divorce.

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